These days, everyone is talking about and focused on content. In fact, 70 percent of businesses actively invest in content programs as part of their overall marketing strategy and nearly half of all marketers plan on increasing their content investment within the next year. As a business owner or brand manager, you may be one of these content-focused marketers and with good reason. Even before a coronavirus economy that has reduced many budgets and often slowed advertising and promotional planning, content marketing has been recognized as a smart, valuable and effective way of connecting with your audience.
However, in the crowded space of blogs, eBooks, podcasts, videos, infographics and more, the question that demands an answer is: Are you producing lots of great content? Or are you producing content that serves a true purpose of connecting with your audience in a meaningful and measurable way that provokes thought and inspires action? Hopefully, it’s the latter but all too often even the smartest marketers are missing out on opportunities to speak directly to their customers, brand followers and prospects in a way that initiates a productive dialogue and builds brand relationships. Let’s think about how to change that.
Leads > Likes
Everyone wants to be appreciated and while those thumbs up on Facebook and full hearts on Instagram leave us all with a good feeling, good content produces lead generation, sales conversions and reinforces thought leadership. While it should never be hard-sell (that’s what your advertising program is for), content supports and enhances your brand messaging, attracts more website visitors and positions your company and brand as an industry leader. Your goal is to get more than just a quick tap of approval – it’s to leave lasting impressions that move your audience toward action.
Why Following the Rules is a Bad Idea
Most of us were taught at an early age to color within the lines, don’t speak unless spoken to and to mind our own business. While some of these probably still apply, becoming a rule follower when it comes to content creation can result in your blog, podcast and infographics looking like all others in the marketplace. While guidelines like having a strong blog headline, keeping content to around 1000 words (this one is 976) and including a strong call to action can be good, you never want to mechanically plug into a set formula. Your business and brand are unique and your content should be too. Whether you create it yourself or work with a partner, be sure everything you develop has a tone and style that is different and truly reflects your brand.
Have a Point of View for Everything You Do
Never fall into the trap of creating content simply because your content calendar indicates you have four blogs due in a month. Every piece of content you produce should have a purpose. What will it say and what is the desired result? How will you promote it on social media and via emails? How will you measure success? Answering these questions will ensure that you always think about content strategically instead of methodically. Know in advance what you are doing, how you are doing it and most importantly why you are doing it. Just like every other aspect of your business, you must have a detailed and well thought out rationale. Which brings us to our next point . . .
Campaigns (Thankfully) are About More Than Just Politics
Content is much more than just sitting behind the keyboard and typing out a quick blog post. Successful companies develop a strategic content marketing approach that includes: a discovery session to discuss and document key areas of your business and marketplace; persona research that defines your customer base; industry research that spotlights your company’s market positioning and opportunities; cohesive campaigns within a well-designed content calendar to ensure everything you create is impactful, timely and complements your marketing strategy; and content audits to assess what areas of your content are working and what can use improvement.
Good Content is a Great Conversation with Your Brand Followers
Content starts a dialogue with your customers and prospects that leads to more interest in your products and services, greater brand engagement and ultimately more sales conversions. Unlike many forms of marketing, content programs are measurable so you can monitor what kinds of returns you are receiving for your investment. By using simple online analytical tools, you can determine things like how many more website visits you are generating, how long they are staying on a page, how many are taking that next step to your eCommerce store and more. Communicating with your customers in an open and honest way builds trust and brand loyalty – and content is a great way to accomplish this.
Meet Your Customers Where They are in the Buyer’s Journey
While virtually every marketing firm says they can deliver blogs, eBooks and infographics, few do the necessary research and preparation that meets customers where they are in their buyer journeys. At Spoke, our content and everything else we do is designed to do just that. By connecting with consumers in every phase of the buying process, you can answer their questions and objections, illustrate how your products and services solve their challenges and inspire them to move from being a prospect to becoming a buyer and loyal brand follower. It’s the right content at the right time in the sales stage. We do more than just offer well-written and creatively designed content, we apply it in a way that produces outstanding results for your business and brand.
You and your brand have a big story to tell. Your content should be targeted, personalized and integrated with other tactics. Ready to reach your clients in a meaningful way that creates great first impressions, leaves lasting ones and produces impactful results? Take a closer look at the way we create content at Spoke. And let’s start a dialogue about enhancing your content – the results will speak for themselves.